Luzon quake shows immediate need for DDR, says Cong Duterte

The powerful earthquake that rocked northern Luzon Wednesday, July 27 underscored the need for the immediate passage of the measure seeking to establish a Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR).

Former President Rodrigo Duterte (standing) and Davao City 1st district. Paolo Duterte (Facebook)

Thus, said Davao City 1st district Rep. Paolo Duterte, one of the main proponents of the bill during the previous 18th Congress.

“If we are to create a Department of Disaster Resilience, we should make it a strong, dependable agency by employing the latest technologies available. This will ensure that the DDR will be efficient and effective in performing its task of being the country’s main disaster management agency,” Duterte said in a statement Thursday, July 28.

The use of space technology, artificial intelligence, drones, radars, computer models, and micromapping, to name a few, should be accessible to the DDR, reckoned the second-term congressman.

Duterte, along with Benguet lone district Rep. Eric Yap, Quezon City 2nd district Rep. Ralph Tulfo and ACT-CIS Party-list Reps. Edvic Yap, Jocelyn Tulfo and Jeffrey Soriano have recently filed House Bill (HB) No. 452 for the purpose of creating the DDR in the current 19th Congress.

The measure seeks to create an “empowered, highly specialized, science and ICT (information and communications technology)-based and fast and responsive Department of Disaster Resilience, with the clear unity of command which shall be primarily responsible for ensuring safe, adaptive and disaster-resilient communities".

Duterte said that under the bill, the DDR shall manage and direct the implementation of national, local and community-based disaster resilience and disaster management programs, projects and activities in collaboration with relevant government agencies, local government units (LGUs), civil society organizations, academic groups and other stakeholders.

“We should emphasize the science-based aspect of this proposal. With the Philippines among the countries most vulnerable to the destructive effects of climate change, science and technology should play a key role in helping us prepare for possible disasters,” he said.

Duterte pointed out that their proposed measure includes the establishment of a National Disaster Operations Center (NDOC), Alternative Command and Control Centers (ACCCs) in the regions and the Disaster Resilience Research and Training Institute (DRRTI).

He said the DRRTI will help develop a highly professionalized corps of officers that will be in charge of, among others, multi-hazard mapping; risk analysis; and the setting up of a database that includes relevant information from other government agencies and third parties for the DDR to better prepare and respond to natural hazards.

The DDR bill was first filed by Duterte in the previous Congress. A consolidated version of his bill and those filed by other legislators was approved on third reading by the House of Representatives, but its counterpart measure remained pending in the Senate.

Duterte is the son of former President Rodrigo Duterte.